“Virtual is a real opportunity for the business travel industry” – TOM.travel

“Virtual is a real opportunity for the business travel industry” – TOM.travel

The Meta group (formerly Facebook) unequivocally states its ambitions in the field of metaverses. For the group, the future of social interactions lies in these virtual universes and will revolutionize our relationship with the world and with time. Gilles Maillet, Travel, Automotive & Mobility Director at Meta, talks about its application in Travel and more specifically Business Travel.

What are Meta’s ambitions for metaverses?

Gilles Maillet, Travel, Automotive & Mobility Director at Meta

At Meta, we changed our name last year to reflect our ambition in the metaverse. The metaverse for us corresponds to all the experiences we can live together in a virtual world as if they were real. We put this on the same level as the mobile revolution. The metaverse is the next internet revolution. We go from a 2D to a 3D environment, fully immersive.

With Facebook we already offered augmented reality and virtual reality experiences, but the latter required specific equipment. The creation of the metaverse will mainly be collaborative and will not just stay with Meta. For our part, we expect to create more than 10,000 jobs in Europe dedicated to this technology in the coming years.

Is there a desire to revolutionize our relationship with time and travel, especially in business travel?

At Disney, for example, the metaverse is offered as an enhanced experience of their park. It complements the visit and does not replace it. The metaverse makes it possible to offer experiences that are not possible in the real world and for professionals to facilitate the organization of meetings or events, for example. According to Meta, the change will take place along 3 axes: in the way we work, in discovering a destination and in the idea of ​​augmented travel. Our relationship with time will also evolve because it does not require physical movement, so we will gain some.

I think the pandemic has already profoundly changed our relationship with time and the way we travel. We need business trips because it is important to stay in touch, to be connected and at the same time today there is a real reflection on the side of sustainable development. After that, the metaverse will be able to change the way men interact and optimize professional encounters. The concept of sustainable development will not only apply to companies, as we also want to reduce our CO2 emissions and develop a sustainable and responsible metaverse.

What might a meeting or a business trip look like in a few years?

With the new ways of working, we are evolving towards a hybrid work world where any tool can improve our productivity, our creativity…. I think these are fundamental “trends” that will continue over time. The metaverse will serve the business traveler and the company. It is certain that business trips will change and the organization will too. This will redefine what a professional meeting is, but the virtual is above all a real opportunity for the sector as it will create new ways of interacting and meeting. The business opportunities are only increasing tenfold.

For companies, these universes can also be made available for training. Hilton has also recently been training his teams in the metaverse. Vocational training will be an important theme in the coming years. In general, everything related to the customer experience can be improved through technology. The automotive industry or the cultural sector in particular regularly uses augmented reality, for example to offer immersive driving experiences or visiting experiences everywhere, in museums but especially outside of it. In the hotel industry, establishments will become real workplaces and professionals will need to be able to provide augmented experiences to bring business travelers home. I think this will become a real criterion in the long run. Equipping yourself with the latest available technologies is therefore essential.

Opening photo: @solomin_D

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